Subjective ratings of sleepiness--the underlying circadian mechanisms

Sleep. 1987 Aug;10(4):343-53. doi: 10.1093/sleep/10.4.343.


Previous field and laboratory studies have revealed that there is a diurnal variation in subjective sleepiness that is different in form to that of objective sleepiness and many measures of performance efficiency. The worst subjective sleepiness occurs at the trough in the circadian temperature rhythm, the least subjective sleepiness about 7 h before the peak in temperature. A series of forced desynchronization experiments, in which the endogenous circadian oscillator controlling the temperature rhythm ran at a different period to the sleep/wake cycle, revealed that these findings can be explained by postulating subjective sleepiness to be under the control of both factors, with minimum sleepiness occurring at the peak in temperature in terms of the temperature cycle and about 6 h after waking in terms of the sleep/wake cycle.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Temperature
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Perception / physiology*
  • Sleep Stages / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Wakefulness / physiology